Ed Pratt Mug _lowres

Ed Pratt

It was all I could take in recent days. The president of the United States called the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, “nasty” and then denied it, even though his words had been recorded.

He said he never saw the legion of folk protesting against him in the streets of London while television networks showed thousands of people, including a baby Trump blimp.

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And it was difficult to get over the shame of U.S. Navy either considering or actually trying to hide a giant battleship from the view of the president because the name on it, “USS John McCain,” might upset the sensibilities of the country’s Man-Baby-In-Chief.

So, one muggy evening, I made the decision to return to walking as my preferred method of de-stressing and exercising.

For months, I have convinced myself that having to walk to the far reaches of my office parking lot twice a day was a great form of exercise. Like the Man-Baby-in-Chief, I was lying to myself.

It was time to return to real walking, real exercise. I wanted to become a calorie-killing machine.

With about an hour left in the day, I walked into an enclosed track facility. It felt like old times. I enjoyed the activity until I was challenged by the call of after-work snacks. Even so, I am actually down two pounds from that period.

When I entered the track place, I didn’t recognize anyone from the old crowd. There was an older gentleman in a crisp uniform at the sign-in desk. He was welcoming and explained the facility’s hours.

He appeared to be several years older than I am, but he had a full head of black hair. More power to that fella. I’m assuming here, but I would dye my hair too if I could take the biting comments, finger-pointing and yuks from my friends and relatives.

Back on the track again, I was stoked. I had on really nice headphones listening to my favorite music. 

A couple of minutes into my walk, I saw a few people in the second bend of the track. That’s all I needed for my competitive juices to boil. I have never wanted to be last at anything. I set my sights at passing them quickly. Just then, out of nowhere, some guy passed me.

Uh oh, the battle was on now.

I think the dude took one look at me and determined I was from an older crowd and that he had to dismiss me. Yep, I had all of the signs. I had on a sweatshirt representing a construction equipment business, a pair of black shorts you'd wear to a cookout, and a waffle-wide pair of sneakers. But I didn't have on the midcalf or knee-high socks that screams "old."

Just then, I whizzed past a very obese woman. I applaud her efforts to establish a regime that could benefit her, even save her life. As determined as I was, I could see that she had buckets more determination than I did. But I quickly passed her up, and knew I would lap her quickly.

Before long, I passed up an older woman. My confidence and speed were building.

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As I continued to pass people, either older or annoyingly on their cellphones, some hulking guy came up on my left shoulder and passed me. He looked like he once blocked for players in the NFL.

He looked back for a second. I was hoping that wasn’t because he heard me listening to Anita Baker. I may be one of three men in the world who listens to Anita Baker while exercising.

It wasn’t long before the big fella was about 20 yards from me. “Good for you, dude. I’ll put you in check in a few minutes,” I thought to myself. Two laps later, he left the track before I could walk him down. “Wimp!”

I really felt good as I walked off the track. I was ecstatic about leaving all of the old and super-heavy people in my wake. When I got back into my vehicle, there was CNN blaring on my radio. Not wanting to be riled up again by news of you-know-who, I switched to my music — Anita Baker.

Email Edward Pratt, a former newspaperman who writes a weekly Advocate column, at epratt1972@yahoo.com